How to keep to your diet while eating out
Posted on 29 September 2017
Eating out is part and parcel of socialising. Keeping to a healthy diet can be a challenge if you socialise frequently. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
‘If you focus on eating healthily most of the time, then being healthy is more sustainable,’ says Kelly Ansley, a dietician at Mediclinic Morningside. ‘You shouldn’t see eating well as a diet or a quick fix, it should be part of your lifestyle.’
The primary drawbacks of restaurant eating are the uncontrolled variables. Patrons have limited choice in their portion size, not to mention the cooking ingredients used. But this is where a little self-discipline and awareness can be wholly influential.
‘You can always control portion size by choosing a starter option as your main course,’ says Kelly. ‘Even if you have a main course, saving the other half for lunch the next day is a great way to limit calorie intake. Always choose grilled options with a side salad or vegetable helping, and consider sharing dessert with a friend. Other advice would be to moderate empty calories such as alcohol, as well as steering clear of fried foods.’
Kelly also promotes the benefits of foresight.
‘It is easiest to maintain a healthy eating plan during the week when there is a routine in place,’ she says. ‘Planning ahead ensures that meals are generally controlled, and there is less temptation to buy various convenience or ready-made meals.’
But what about those individuals who eat out more than most? Can a little healthy food with an otherwise “unhealthy” meal be of any benefit?
‘Absolutely,’ affirms Kelly. ‘A side helping of salad is generally filling, reducing a person’s appetite for a whole pizza for instance. It is always a positive thing to include even a little nutritious food while eating out.’